Jo Herschan

Dr Jo Herschan

Postgraduate Research Student
MSc Water and Environmental Engineering (University of Surrey), MSci Geology and Geophysics (Imperial College London)


My research project

Affiliations and memberships

Scenario DTP student


Jo Herschan, Bettina Rickert, Theresa Mkandawire, Kenan Okurut, Richard King, Susan J. Hughes, Dan J. Lapworth, Katherine Pond (2020)Success factors for water safety plan implementation in small drinking water supplies in low-and middle-income countries, In: Resources (Basel)9(11)126 MDPI AG

Water Safety Plan (WSP) implementation has the potential to greatly improve, commonly very challenging and resource limited, small drinking water supplies. Although slower than in urban or high-income settings, the uptake of WSPs in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) is accelerating. Understanding the factors which will make a WSP successful will further improve efficient uptake and assist with its long-term sustainability. Based on an extensive literature search using the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISM-A) methodology, 48 publications, including case studies and guidance documentation, formed the basis of this review. These were analysed using inductive and deductive coding methods to (i) identify the success factors applicable to WSP implementation in small drinking water supplies in LMICs and (ii) to investigate which factors are more or less critical depending on the geography and level of development of the implementing country. Key challenges identified during the review process were also noted. A comparison of these success factors was made with those identified from high-income and urban settings. The three most important success factors identified are the development of technical capacity, community engagement, and monitoring and verification. Factors specific to small drinking water supplies in LMICs include support from non-government organisations, integration into existing water sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programs, simplicity, and community engagement. Certain factors, such as adaptability, the use of guidance documentation, international collaboration, the role of pilot studies, knowledge sharing, and stakeholder involvement are applicable to all WSP settings. Due to the specific challenges faced by small drinking water systems and the limited number of original research publications on this topic, this study highlights the need for further data collection and research focused on success factors in these settings. It is anticipated that the consideration of the success factors identified in this study will assist implementers in improving the uptake and long-term sustainability of WSPs in small drinking water supplies in low- and middle-income settings.

Josephine Barbara Herschan, Katherine Rachael Pond, Rosalind Niven Malcolm (2023)Regulatory-driven risk assessment to improve drinking-water quality: A case study of private water supplies in England and Wales, In: Environmental Science and Policy140pp. 1-11 Elsevier

Owing to the managerial and regulatory setup of Private Water Supplies (PWS) in England and Wales, the attention and resource required to achieve ‘wholesome’ drinking-water, a regulatory term reflecting quality standards, is often limited. The requirement to risk assess PWS was first included in the English and Welsh Regulations in 2009 and 2010 respectively. However, compliance rates with risk assessment requirements remain low with concerns raised regarding the lack of subsequent action. Using a mixed methods approach of interviews and surveys, this research seeks to: (i) identify available data sources for the completion of risk assessments by Local Authorities; (ii) understand factors which facilitate or hinder decisions made and action taken based on risk assessments; (iii) investigate the influence of the regulatory environment on (i) and (ii); and (iv) pose suggestions for more efficient data use to help improve the drinking-water quality of PWS in England and Wales. Findings highlight gaps in the legislation which impact the national level understanding of PWS drinking-water quality and subsequently impact national level prioritization and resource allocation. The assigned stakeholders responsible for risk assessment are reviewed and discussed. Recommendations include the development of an environmental health database to support institutional data sharing; a greater recognition of the differing resource type and enforcement strategies required to undertake risk assessment, in comparison to water quality sampling alone; introduction of Sanitary Inspection forms to PWS operators and financial support structures to facilitate remedial action. Methods which may support reduced sampling data, such as hydrogeological modeling, are discussed.

Katherine Pond, Richard King, Jo Herschan, Rosalind Malcolm, Rory Moses McKeown, Oliver Schmoll (2020)Improving risk assessments by sanitary inspection for small drinking-water supplies-qualitative evidence, In: Resources9(6)71 MDPI

Small drinking-water supplies face particular challenges in terms of their management. Being vulnerable to contamination but often not monitored regularly nor well-maintained, small drinking-water supplies may pose consequences for health of users. Sanitary inspection (SI) is a risk assessment tool to identify and manage observable conditions of the water supply technology or circumstances in the catchment area that may favour certain hazardous events and introduce hazards which may become a risk to health. This qualitative research aimed to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the SI tool as published by the World Health Organisation to inform a review and update of the forms and to improve their robustness. The study identified a number of benefits of the approach, such as its simplicity and ease of use. Challenges were also identified, such as potential for inconsistencies in perception of risk between inspectors, in interpreting questions, and lack of follow-up action. The authors recommend a revision of the existing SI forms to address the identified challenges and development of complementary advice on possible remedial action to address identified risk factors and on basic operations and maintenance.

RICHARD KING, M. J. Gunnarsdottir, Þ. Narfason , S. Hjaltadóttir , Á. Sigurðsson , JOSEPHINE BARBARA HERSCHAN, S.M. Gardarsson, R. M. McKeown, Katherine Pond (2022)Adapting sanitary inspections for the monitoring of small drinking water supplies in Iceland, In: Journal of water and health IWA Publishing
Josephine Barbara Herschan, Aime Tsinda , Kenan Okurut , Rosalind Niven Malcolm, Daniel J. Lapworth , Katherine Rachael Pond (2023)Progress of Using Risk Assessment to Manage Small Drinking-Water Supplies in Rwanda: A Preliminary Study, In: Processes11(3)748 MDPI

The World Health Organization promotes risk assessment and risk management through Water Safety Plans (WSPs) as the most effective way to manage drinking-water supplies. Despite proven advantages of this approach in other regions, WSPs are still not widely used across small drinking-water supplies in Sub Saharan Africa. The aim of this research is to identify good practices and related gaps which may assist with formal uptake of WSPs for small drinking-water supplies in Rwanda. Through semi-structured interviews with the key stakeholders involved in small drinking-water supply management across Rwanda, the aim is achieved through the investigation of the following: (i) current drinking-water management challenges; (ii) stakeholder collaboration and data management activities including reporting of information; and (iii) the regulatory and policy environment. The use and awareness of WSPs in Rwanda was confirmed as low. However certain drinking-water management activities which align with the WSP methodology are being carried out. These include catchment management and stakeholder collaboration. Although legislation and policy are in place in Rwanda, communication and training of methods to implement WSPs are required to sustainably embed WSPs into practice. Several elements, including community engagement, systematic review of risks and data management, require greater focus to align with the WSP methodology. Respondents highlighted key drinking-water management challenges, including reactive budgeting and lack of sector prioritization, which could benefit from formal WSP implementation.

Richard King, Kenan Okurut, Jo Herschan, Dan J. Lapworth, Rosalind Malcolm, Rory Moses McKeown, Katherine Pond (2020)Does training improve sanitary inspection answer agreement between inspectors? Quantitative evidence from the mukono district, uganda, In: Resources (Basel)9(120) MDPI AG

Sanitary inspections (SIs) are checklists of questions used for achieving/maintaining the safety of drinking-water supplies by identifying observable actual and potential sources and pathways of contamination. Despite the widespread use of SIs, the effects of training on SI response are understudied. Thirty-six spring supplies were inspected on two occasions, pre- and post-training, by an instructor from the research team and four local inspectors in the Mukono District of Uganda. SI score agreement between the instructor and each inspector was calculated using Lin’s concordance correlation coefficient. Average SI score agreement between the instructor and all inspectors increased post-training for the Yes/No answer type (0.262 to 0.490). For the risk level answer type (e.g., No, Low, Medium, High), average SI score agreement between the instructor and all inspectors increased post-training (0.301 to 0.380). Variability of SI scores between the four inspectors was calculated using coefficient of variation analysis. Average SI score variability between inspectors reduced post-training for both answer types, Yes/No (21.25 to 16.16) and risk level (24.12 to 19.62). Consistency of answer agreement between the four inspectors for each individual SI question was calculated using index of dispersion analysis. Average answer dispersion between inspectors reduced post-training for both answer types, Yes/No (0.41 to 0.27) and risk level (0.55 to 0.41). The findings indicate that training has a positive effect on improving answer agreement between inspectors. However, advanced training or tailoring of SI questions to the local context may be required where inconsistency of responses between inspectors persists, especially for the risk level answer type that requires increased use of inspector risk perception. Organisations should be aware of the potential inconsistency of results between inspectors so that this may be rectified with appropriate training and, where necessary, better SI design and customisation.

Jo Herschan, Richard King, Theresa Mkandawire, Kenan Okurut, Dan J Lapworth, Rosalind Malcolm, Katherine Pond (2020)The potential for citizen science to improve the reach of sanitary inspections, In: Resources (Basel)9(12)142 MDPI AG

To achieve Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 6, universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking-water quality and sanitation for all, and 10, to reduce inequality within and among countries, additional and urgent work is required. Efforts to achieve these Goals in the context of small drinking-water supplies, which are the furthest behind in regards to progress, are of particular need. Reasons for this disparity in progress include the remoteness of access to small drinking-water supplies and the lack of technical and financial capacity for monitoring supplies. The World Health Organization promote the use of Sanitary inspection (SI) as an on-site assessment of risk. Despite the potential to increase the body of knowledge and information on supplies in a region, there has been limited research into the role of citizen science and SIs. To meet SDG targets, we need to improve the reach of SIs. This study uses a mixed methods approach of quantitative on-site SI data collection and remote SI data collection via photographic images, together with qualitative data collection, collected by non-expert students, who are citizens of Malawi, as well as a panel of experts in the field of SI. Results indicate that, although further research into the topic is required prior to widescale implementation, the potential exists for citizens to conduct SI, with remote expert verification of the results using photographic images of supplies. Further documentation or guidance is required to support citizens in this process. The results highlight a critical gap in the availability of appropriate documentation for unprotected spring sources which is urgently required. The use of citizen science for SI data collection is in its infancy. However, this study indicates that there is potential to explore the use of citizen science in this area, which will contribute to achieving SDGs 6 and 10.